Sunday, January 25, 2015

"Buying a Field" Part I


Note: If you’re just joining me, reading my previous blog "Another Anniversary" will help catch you up to this point in our story.

On October 1st, 2014, Jordan and I decided to revisit our infertility doctor to make sure my body was healing properly from the miscarriage and it was safe to start trying again.  She gave us the “A-OK” and suggested we take the same ovulation medication she had suggested we use earlier that year.

When Jordan and I walked down those long halls at the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center for the umpteenth time that year, I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed with all the various emotions we had experienced on our way to and from each appointment.  From excitement to finally meet our new doctor, to nervous fear as I started some painful testing, to unspeakable joy to see our first baby on an ultrasound, to utter shock, confusion, and pain as we learned of our miscarriage… we had experienced it ALL in those hallways.  So this visit was particularly emotional for me.  It had been the first time we had been back since we were told I had miscarried.

The news that we were ok to start trying again was uplifting.  This time, Jordan and I didn’t really hesitate in our decision to want to take the medication.  We just had to wait for my next cycle.  Just like last time.

The month of October flew by. 

In the midst of busy schedules and life happening, the Lord really started to tug at me with some Scripture I read in Jeremiah 32. 

Jeremiah was a prophet sent by God to the people of Judah to warn them of God’s coming wrath and judgment.  You see, they had pretty much done everything they possibly could to live against God’s will.  And even after multiple warnings from God, they continued to live in their sinful ways.  So God promised a great exile was about to happen, and the land they loved so much would be destroyed.

This was God’s message Jeremiah had to share with the Israelites!  The phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” was probably a thought going through Jeremiah’s mind many times!

In chapter 32, Jeremiah is imprisoned by Zedekiah king of Judah for delivering his message of doom.  Jeremiah shares a message with the king that God has told him his cousin Hanamel is going to come visit him in prison and offer him a portion of his land to buy.

“6 Jeremiah said, “The word of the Lord came to me: Hanamel son of Shallum your uncle is going to come to you and say, Buy my field at Anathoth, because as nearest relative it is your right and duty to buy it.’” (emphasis mine)

The idea of buying a field in the middle of a land destined for destruction and exile was absurd for anyone witnessing Jeremiah’s transaction between his cousin that day.  Why would the very prophet who has been speaking of God’s plan to destroy the land decide to invest in a field in that land? 

Furthermore, for Jeremiah to even buy the property, it was going to cost him nearly everything he owned.  Prophets weren’t upper-class citizens and he was in jail.  So anything left to his name was spent on the field.  Not to mention, it was an even more absurd idea for Jeremiah to buy land when he had no wife or children to pass it along to.

AND, the transaction between Hanamel and Jeremiah was done in front of many witnesses, as Jeremiah was in a public jail, and it that day, nothing having to do with a sale was done in secret; everything was a public transaction.  The deed was signed, and Jeremiah asked that the documents be placed in a clay jar so they will last a long time.  He proclaims this promise from the Lord: “Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land” (v. 15). And then… he prays.  What an example to us all!

Jeremiah’s prayer in verses 17-25 begins with his acknowledgment of how powerful and mighty God is.  He proclaims God as Creator of the Universe, and lists the many ways God has demonstrated his power over the world.  At the end of his prayer, he claims God’s plan for the people to be seized by the Babylonians.  However, Jeremiah ends his prayer with, “And though the city will be given into the hands of the Babylonians, you, Sovereign Lord, say to me, ‘Buy the field with silver and have the transaction witnessed.’” (emphasis mine)

Wow.  There are so many part of this Scripture I could expound on, but that last verse is really where the rubber meets the road. 

When we meet an “and though” situation, does our obedience to God’s will depend on what that “though” means or does our obedience to God depend on nothing else but our faith in God’s promises for our future?

(Side note: One of the most famous verses people LOVE to quote from Scripture is from Jeremiah 29:11- “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’”   Yet, God spoke this over a people who were in agony from the exile, being separated from their loved ones and everything they knew!  Can you imagine being told such a promise in the midst of such tragedy?!)

For Jeremiah, buying the field was an act of utter obedience.  Though Jeremiah knew God’s promise to bring the people back to this land where fields and houses would be bought again, he still had to make a bold choice (and somewhat crazy choice) to invest in this field. 

·      It was going to cost him everything he had.
·      Everyone was going to know about it.
·      The purchase had to be made before the promise was realized.

I began to really pray about why God would have me pause on this Scripture.  I literally read it over and over and over again.  Then I opened up every commentary I owned, researched more commentaries online, and wrote a lot in my journal.  Ultimately, what the Lord put on my heart was to “buy a field.”  Huh?  Did I hear that right?  You want me to buy a field?!  What does that even mean!?

I found myself driving to and from places up and down I-64 asking God what field He was asking me to buy.  I was pretty clear it wasn’t a literal field.  What I started to realize what that God was asking me to make a sacrifice (“It’s going to cost you something, Amy.  Maybe everything you have.”), and I was to make this sacrifice (or purchase) before His promise was revealed to me. 

Before this time, I don’t think I had ever made a decision about a life-change, career-change, job-change, etc. without knowing for sure what the next step was going to be.  I always had the promise before the purchase.  But God was being very clear to me that this purchase was to be made before He revealed what was coming.

I decided that whatever God was going to ask me to sacrifice, I would willingly give it up.  I would obey.  And then I would faithfully wait for His promise.

Then God asked me to sacrifice being a youth leader at our church.

Again, more questions for God.  “Huh?! Are you sure? This is what I’ve been called to do!  I’ve poured my heart, time, and energy into getting to know these kids this year!  I’ve been doing youth ministry for six years!  Are. You. Sure?!?”

“Yes, Amy.  I am sure,” said God.

The next thing I did was talk to Jordan about what God was revealing to me.  I told him about Jeremiah and the field and how God was asking me to step away from being a youth leader.  He was so supportive and excited about what God was doing in my heart that he gladly gave me his blessing to step down from Revolution Church (what our church calls youth group).

I decided to talk to one more person before making this decision.  I didn’t want to involve the opinions of many friends, because I didn’t want my conviction to waiver on other’s emotions and thoughts.  So I took my “field” to my friend and mentor, and when I told her, she wasn’t surprised at all!  In fact, she said she saw this coming, and gave me her complete support!

That was all the affirmation I needed.  I set up a meeting with our youth pastor for Saturday morning after I was done teaching a discipleship class…

Jordan was extremely busy with work in the Air Force, including a week-long tour the last week of October to the Carolinas.  I remember texting with him all week that I still hadn’t gotten my cycle (we were nervous I would while he was gone, as that would mean I would start medication without him).  We agreed I could take a pregnancy test that weekend when he got home.

Dear friends, if there is one thing I have learned this year, it’s that God acts at just the right time (more on that in another chapter/post).  God’s timing is perfect, Sovereign.  He makes no mistakes.  There are no coincidences.  So what I am about to share next is all to glorify His name, His power, His plan for our lives and our future children.

The day I told Pastor Justin I was stepping down from RC, I found out I was pregnant.

Our first ultrasound.  There's really a baby in there!

I knew God had a promise waiting for me, but I didn’t want to place borders on that promise.  In other words, I didn’t want to decide for myself that the promise would be children, as badly as I wanted them.  I also didn’t want to have a “manipulative” heart in making my decision to step down from RC.  Even though I cannot manipulate God, I didn’t want the spirit of manipulation: “God, I will step down from RC if you give me a baby.”  I’ve had this attitude before, and it is not one I am proud of or want to keep! 

But just like the first pregnancy, we conceived without medication.  We conceived the same month we decided we would take medication to help us, also like the first time.  And true to God’s nature, He acted at just the right time.

This baby is the field I purchased.  Maybe it doesn’t seem like sacrificing my involvement in ministry compares to receiving a child.  But I also don’t think God works like that.  This was more about whether or not my heart was willing to be obedient to His voice, and have faith that He would provide the promise.

I have learned a big lesson these past few months about obedience… which I find extremely timely!  After all, I am about to raise my own child, I have always valued obedience and discipline and thought myself to be the kind of mom that would encourage both in my parenting.  Little did I know, I needed to learn some of that myself, first! 

Have you ever had an “obedience” calling like this before?  I’d love to hear about it! Comment below, or email me at amy.kimble1@gmail.com .

To God be the Glory!

“One of the assurances of future mercies must not be interpreted as securities from present troubles.”
- Matthew Henry commentary